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July 5, 2015

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Group urges valley residents to ‘Rediscover Downtown’


Tom Donoghue/

An aerial view of downtown Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience.

Business and civic leaders launched the “Rediscover Downtown” campaign Thursday morning to announce a monthslong campaign targeting Las Vegas residents who may have never visited the area.

The announcement took place during a news conference in the parking lot of El Cortez Hotel & Casino on 6th Street, less than a block north of East Fremont Street where most of downtown’s “rebirth” is occurring. Rich Worthington, chairman of the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance, acknowledged that “downtown was once perceived as a place where there wasn’t much going on, a place that wasn’t safe, and a place where parking was scarce and difficult.”

Worthington, president/CEO of The Molasky Group of Cos., called the downtown of 2012 a “far cry from that unfortunate perception.” To make his point, he cited change in two categories of crime: Violent crimes downtown are down 18 percent from 2010; property crimes downtown are down more than 16 percent over the same time.

The Downtown Alliance is spending some $60,000 on the promotional campaign, said Terry Murphy, Alliance vice chair. The group is planning a “Rediscover Downtown Day” in October.

Worthington said Zappos, the online shoe/clothing retailer, “changed the game with its landmark decision to relocate downtown” in late 2009. Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh has since helped create the “Downtown Project,” which plans to invest $350 million in downtown real estate, residential development, small business, education and tech start-ups.

A Zappos representative appeared in a video created for the promotion but did not attend the news conference. Those who attended included Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Las Vegas City Council members Bob Beers and Bob Coffin, along with several owners and operators of downtown businesses.

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  1. I agree, we know what downtown looks like already, and we dont like it. The sidewalks really smell like urine, parking structures are literally falling over, I'm very serious, I've seen caution tape placed at parking structures preventing people from parking beyond a certain point because the floor was cracked and collapsible. A new downtown would mean leveling the existing buildings and start over. As it is, I cant park safely, walk around safely after sundown, breath inside the smoke penetrated casinos, give us something to go back to and we will...

  2. As a recent (tourist) I found Fremont St. a fun place to be. I was there all day and past midnight. The security presence was very visible. Sure there were some bums around but a close eye was kept on them. The place was clean and everyone seemed to have a good time. I did not see anymore crazy people there than I did on times square NYC or Quincy Market Boston. Parking was a breeze I Valet parked at Main st casino and took the walking overpass to Fremont st. The free bands playing were great. I say give it a try OH! I also won some money and got a lobster and steak dinner for $11.99 can't beat that.

  3. I almost always go downtown when I go out anymore (including the Smith Center). There are some great new bars on Fremont East (Don't Tell Mama, The Griffin, Downtown Cocktail Lounge, etc.) and some pretty good affordable restaurants, too. And guess what, you're not gonna pay $9 for drink there either. It can be a little edgy at times, but no more so than Greenwhich Village, Pioneer Square in Seattle, Deep Elum in Dallas, etc. But if you feel more comfy at home watching American Idol, who am I to judge ;)

  4. I just spent three days with an Australian media company, and they were fascinated and thrilled with what they saw of downtown. In fact, one of them made the point that he never really thought about coming to Las Vegas, but now he wants to come back. They particularly enjoyed the Arts District, spent a night eating and drinking on East Fremont, and were stunned by the Smith Center. They will be taking this message back home with them.

    Big changes have happened, and big changes are coming. Downtown 3.0 is well on its way!

  5. I suppose if you just got out of jail or just returned from Monrovia, Liberia, downtown Las Vegas would seem fantastic. It has a real failed urban feel to it. Some might call it character. I am not impressed consider it a sick joke. It's an insult to anyone with common sense to try and pass it off as anything but a disjointed collection of bad ideas poorly executed. Every city has a place where people of low income and low intelligence and the pseudo hipsters can congregate. That place is downtown L.V.

  6. "Every city has a place where people of low income and low intelligence and the pseudo hipsters can congregate."

    Epic fail on all three accounts in my case, John. Keep that mind closed up good and tight and enjoy your exciting nights out at Applebee's.

  7. It's First Friday in downtown tonight. Plenty of people will be out and enjoying art, culture, cocktails and food. Come on down and see for yourself! Or, hey, find me and I'll buy your first round.

    Downtown is a revitalizing urban area, and just like any urban area (San Diego, for instance), there are good spots and not so good spots. But this Las Vegas native, one who works, eats and plays downtown, knows that anyone who is smelling urine on the sidewlks is probably in the areas where people buy drugs; but hey, if that's your thing ...